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Be better than you thought possible. That's what 776BC athlete Josh Dunkley-Smith lives by. With 50 days until the Aus Men's Four compete on the ultimate stage, we asked Dunkley-Smith about his daily routine, building team camaraderie, and mentally preparing for his second Games.
1. Since being selected for the Australia Rowing Team for Rio, what's been your daily routine? Since selection I have trained in a number of locations, the two main ones being Canberra and Varese, Italy. We have also had short training/racing camps in Penrith and a World Cup in Lucern, Switzerland. Generally my training and day to day routine doesn't change a whole lot from selection to competition. We row every morning bar Sunday, with a second row Monday to Wednesday and Friday and Saturday. We have weights Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons and ergo or wattbike Tuesday afternoon. Saturday is a longer ride around midday in Aus or a wattbike if overseas. As we get closer to competition sessions just tend to get longer, ie: more kilometers/hours, 5 or 6 work pieces compared to 3 or 4 and overall a higher demand for better quality. As for eating, I eat anything I can get my hands on at all times. As training load increases past a certain point, I find my appetite can get very suppressed and I have to make sure I force enough carbohydrate and kilojoules down my throat to keep my weight up, and good quality in my work. Milk is liquid gold; fat for energy, protein for muscle, calcium for bone and muscle activation and hydration.
2. This is your second Games; what lessons did you learn from London that you’re taking into these Games? I learnt many lessons in London but the main one is the importance of every position in every race. With the course in Rio looking exposed to the elements, I think that will be even more important than it was in Eton, London.
3. Rowing is a unique team sport in which all team members are physically connected, hence teamwork is integral to crew success. How does your crew build camaraderie? We build camaraderie in many ways, but not many are fit to write about, only because when we are out of our mind with fatigue and extremely glycogendeficit, not much of what we do makes sense. But getting together and going out for dinner is a good one, it means we can get out of the routine training environment and be people for a little bit.
4. There is 50 days left until the Rio Games get underway, what is your schedule and what are you personally concentrating on? Also, what is the crew concentrating on? Train, eat, sleep and repeat. We are focusing on ways to keep improving, we feel that we have made some huge technical gains but if we don’t keep pushing that forward it is easy to stagnate and get left behind. This is part of the race, it’s just the last two kilometers that people watch.
5. Finally, are you nervous? You’re about to compete on a world stage, in peak physical condition, but how do you emotionally prepare? Yeah, I am a little nervous but it only comes in bits and pieces. In odd moments I will wonder about what might happen but I don’t worry, it’s fine to examine thoughts like this and remind myself that what we do now will help us deal with anything that comes our way in Rio. There isn’t much that rowing a bit better and pulling harder won’t fix.